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wsmoak
Oct. 4, 2009, 06:54 PM
I want to get some thoughts on something that happened today and how to avoid it or deal with it better in the future.

Patrick is normally fine riding out alone, which we did today in a local mountain park. (Note for the safety conscious, *I* am not alone, I ride while my husband hikes. But Patrick is out there with no other horses.) This is as it should be, he's an event horse, and you don't have company on XC.

He was fine for most of our ride today. We left the other horses at the trail head walking on the buckle. We passed bicyclists, dogs, and hikers. We crossed paths with a group of riders headed the opposite direction and went on our way with no problems.

Then we met up with the same group again and they originally said they were going a different way, then changed their minds and came up behind me. I stepped aside to let them pass as they seemed to be going faster than I was. Most of them were, but two of them hung back and Patrick ended up following them for a while. I hoped they would catch up to their group, but no. So I decided to turn around and take the other trail.

Here's where the not fun part starts. In the ten minutes we were following the other group, he apparently got extremely attached to them, and spent the next 20 minutes calling, listening intently, and wanting to trot off. I tried making him work harder to get his attention back, but the trail was pretty narrow right there and about all I could do was bend and leg yield a few steps in each direction. Eventually we got to a wider place in a wash and he got to do some work on a circle, then trot up the hill. That and/or the other horses being out of sight/smell for long enough re-connected his brain and we finished the ride on the buckle.

It wasn't horrible, he didn't run off or anything, he just wasn't giving me his full attention and the screaming was getting rather embarrassing. ;)

To me it seemed like typical herd-bound behavior, same thing you sometimes get when you separate pasture buddies. But he'd never seen these horses before in his life!

Do you think that's all it was, or do you have another theory? Any advice on how to handle it better if it happens again? (Besides not following a group that I'm not part of... I learned that lesson already!)

katarine
Oct. 4, 2009, 07:41 PM
any port in a storm :)

normal, not surprising, and totally agree with how you handled it- you just put him to work.

I leg yielded and canter-departed and changed bend for 3 hours yesterday :lol: when my little horse became wildly attracked and bound to the 165 other horses he suddenly found himself a part of. It's all you CAN do, get their brain busy ;)

Chall
Oct. 4, 2009, 08:08 PM
... became wildly attracked and bound to the 165 other horses he suddenly found himself a part of. )
Okay, I'll bite. How did 165 horses sneak up behind you on the trail.. were they wearing sneakers?

Beverley
Oct. 4, 2009, 09:35 PM
No biggie. You encountered a new situation with your horse, and dealt with it appropriately. Actually, good schooling in general and for foxhunting too!

My little mare and I rode solo yesterday, about 4 miles, on a competitive trail ride, we were first to go and no one caught up to us (perhaps because I was using the occasion to school trots and canters and hills along the way)- she did let out a whinny when we got to the far east end of the park and she could smell the horses in a nearby barn. That's all she did.

katarine
Oct. 4, 2009, 09:40 PM
We rode in the McCurdy Plantation ride. I hadn't done it before so didn't know what to really expect. There were about 160-70 horses and riders of various gaited breeds...to get started, on a cool, Fall morning, we had to bunch up tight and cross a highway while the police held traffic. What COULD have been a calm start, was a snorting, packed close, blowing, occasionally kicking, sometimes spinning and sunfishing, start...that wadded up and spat us out on a huge hayfield with all the great wide open ahead of us. eeeee boy, that's how...about 40 ahead of us, and the rest, behind and sprawled wide and gaiting on past, or holding and spinning or - in most cases- going on like good broke horses do- my 4 YO was high but held it together, my 8 yo, notsomuch. SOOOO much fun and alive...but my horse never settled. It was a lonnnnng morning to have chosen only a full cheek snaffle ;)

Kyzteke
Oct. 4, 2009, 10:39 PM
Horses are herd animals and just about ANY horse will comfort them more than most people. I loaded one of my mares onto a trailer for a trip to the vet and, as a favor, took a friend's mare.

Neither had ever seen each other before and started the ride pinning ears and arguing about space allotment. Then, within 30 minutes, we unloaded them and took them off in separate directions for their exams. They screamed to each other like long lost comrades :confused:!!

You did the exactly the right thing...and I'm willing to bet if you'd had another one of your horse's herdmates along, this super-bonding with strangers would never have taken place.

I wonder sometimes if they are thinking when they see another horses -- "oh, thank god you're here -- this idiot on my back has NO IDEA of all the danger everywhere around us -- now I've finally got somebody with some sense to help me!!"

twofatponies
Oct. 4, 2009, 10:44 PM
We rode in the McCurdy Plantation ride. I hadn't done it before so didn't know what to really expect. There were about 160-70 horses and riders of various gaited breeds...to get started, on a cool, Fall morning, we had to bunch up tight and cross a highway while the police held traffic. What COULD have been a calm start, was a snorting, packed close, blowing, occasionally kicking, sometimes spinning and sunfishing, start...that wadded up and spat us out on a huge hayfield with all the great wide open ahead of us. eeeee boy, that's how...about 40 ahead of us, and the rest, behind and sprawled wide and gaiting on past, or holding and spinning or - in most cases- going on like good broke horses do- my 4 YO was high but held it together, my 8 yo, notsomuch. SOOOO much fun and alive...but my horse never settled. It was a lonnnnng morning to have chosen only a full cheek snaffle ;)

I think few horses would go through that scenario without getting a bit excited!

cloudy18
Oct. 4, 2009, 10:54 PM
Ugh, my idiots would do the same thing. I was riding with someone and we passed a family riding bikes, their daughter was riding. We went by and her horse proceeded to give her trouble bc he wanted to follow our horses, not bikes! I checked to make sure she was safe and kept going, figuring the farther away we got the better he would be. We passed them heading back and her dad told me had to lead the horse for a little bit bc he wanted to be with us. Apparently they don't bond to bikes. This is my hugest pet peeve with horses (buddy sourness), and so many have it. Or develop it in an instant. I think you handled it about as good as you could have.

busterwells
Oct. 6, 2009, 05:47 PM
Totally normal. I have been on CTR rides where my horses will scream and whinny to a few choice horses when we camp over night within the first few minutes of arriving. I thought this was unusual at first also!!!!!

goeslikestink
Oct. 6, 2009, 06:03 PM
I want to get some thoughts on something that happened today and how to avoid it or deal with it better in the future.

Patrick is normally fine riding out alone, which we did today in a local mountain park. (Note for the safety conscious, *I* am not alone, I ride while my husband hikes. But Patrick is out there with no other horses.) This is as it should be, he's an event horse, and you don't have company on XC.

He was fine for most of our ride today. We left the other horses at the trail head walking on the buckle. We passed bicyclists, dogs, and hikers. We crossed paths with a group of riders headed the opposite direction and went on our way with no problems.

Then we met up with the same group again and they originally said they were going a different way, then changed their minds and came up behind me. I stepped aside to let them pass as they seemed to be going faster than I was. Most of them were, but two of them hung back and Patrick ended up following them for a while. I hoped they would catch up to their group, but no. So I decided to turn around and take the other trail.

Here's where the not fun part starts. In the ten minutes we were following the other group, he apparently got extremely attached to them, and spent the next 20 minutes calling, listening intently, and wanting to trot off. I tried making him work harder to get his attention back, but the trail was pretty narrow right there and about all I could do was bend and leg yield a few steps in each direction. Eventually we got to a wider place in a wash and he got to do some work on a circle, then trot up the hill. That and/or the other horses being out of sight/smell for long enough re-connected his brain and we finished the ride on the buckle.

It wasn't horrible, he didn't run off or anything, he just wasn't giving me his full attention and the screaming was getting rather embarrassing. ;)

To me it seemed like typical herd-bound behavior, same thing you sometimes get when you separate pasture buddies. But he'd never seen these horses before in his life!

Do you think that's all it was, or do you have another theory? Any advice on how to handle it better if it happens again? (Besides not following a group that I'm not part of... I learned that lesson already!)


you need to work on your horse a bit more outside and work means trot him
walking ok but it gives them time to think-- wheres a bit of hard work they dont think as they focused on you and not whats apround them
work all trot paces and canter if you can aswell as walk - keep his mind active but repsonsive to you

Kyzteke
Oct. 8, 2009, 09:30 PM
"The Horse" magazine just had an interesting article on whinnying -- check it out:

http://www.thehorse.com/ViewArticle.aspx?ID=15025

I'm not sure why we should be so surprised, but it seems that horses can identify one another AND identify another horse's age/gender from their whinnies.

As I keep finding out, equines haven't survived some 10,000+ years by being stupid....;)